Award-winner police dog Oz retires after six years of service
PUBLISHED: 13:11 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:15 11 January 2019
The handler of an award-winning police dog who is retiring after six years of service has spoken about the "great memories" the pair have shared together.
PD Oz – formerly called Woz – started working with his handler in the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit in 2013. Most recently, he was the face of the unit’s Facebook relaunch.
Throughout his career, Oz has attended a wide range of incidents – successfully locating missing people, tracking and detaining suspects and locating vital evidence at crime scenes.
His handler of six years said: “Oz’s desire, willingness and commitment to his role have led to numerous successful results and his no-nonsense and determined approach to incidents has led to lengthy prison sentences for offenders and justice for the victims.
“This has been achieved utilising his natural abilities. He clearly enjoyed the part he played and his larger than life character and reputation preceded him.
“It’s been a real pleasure and honour to work alongside him. From the moment I met him there was a connection and a glint in his eye. We have learned together and I’ve got some great memories and had some excellent experiences along the way.”
German Shepherd Oz was also specially trained as a public order and firearms support dog, which saw him attend football matches in Luton to maintain order and spontaneous and pre-planned firearm incidents and operations around the three counties.
In October last year Oz – who was predominantly based in Hertfordshire – and his handler’s hard work and dedication was recognised at Hertfordshire Constabulary’s annual award ceremony as they scooped the Joint Protective Services Officer of the Year Award.
Also in October, two men were sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison for their role in a series of burglaries in the Potters Bar area after help from Oz.
Following an incident in the town in April last year, three men ran from officers. One was caught, but two disappeared after climbing fencing into gardens.
Seven-year-old Oz was deployed, and he and his handler systematically worked their way through numerous gardens. After continuing to track for around 30 minutes, Oz located the two men in an outbuilding.
In August, Oz supported officers in Stevenage – which saw him help contain a suspect who was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault and public orders offences.
Oz’s nose was in action for a different reason in Hitchin in April as he searched for and located a discarded knife, which led to an arrest over possession of an offensive weapon.
And, at the beginning of last year, a burglar was sentenced to four years in prison after being caught by Oz following a Hatfield break-in. Oz searched through alleyways, roads and parks before leading officers to the front door of a block of flats. Once inside the communal area, officers identified a flat where there was activity inside. The man was then arrested.
Oz will be remaining with his handler, who added: “There are two sides to Oz. He’s a real softy at home, but there was a distinctive difference when he was at work. He’s been a loyal and committed partner who has been ready to work at a moment’s notice. He has earned a long and healthy retirement.”